We grew up with them, we watched their movies, and we admired their talent. The kids and young stars on the big screen were all we aspired to. However, we did not know the dark side of fame and the reasons that led most of these artists to lose themselves in excess from an early age.
All of them entered the world of fame and fortune at an early age and had to “mature” faster than us. Today we will talk about the child stars of our time who were blinded by success, money and bad company. Some made it out of it, but we lost others along the way.
1. Brad Renfro
In the 90s there was no movie where Renfro didn’t have a role. Since he was little he had appearances in big films like The client and let nothing separate us. Positioned as a very talented young man, Renfro entered the 2000s as one of the most sought after youth bets in Hollywood while living a strong addiction to alcohol and drugs.
He was charged for possession on several occasions and in 2005 he was arrested in an anti-drug bust that exposed his criminal actions. Renfro admitted to being a heroin and methadone user, for which he was sentenced to three years of rehabilitation, but did not comply with them. On January 15, 2008, the actor was found dead in his Los Angeles apartment from a heroin overdose. I was 25 years old.
2. River Phoenix
River was an icon in the early 90s; we all wanted to be like him and the girls loved him. He had worked with great artists in the industry such as Harrison Ford, Sidney Poitier, Kevin Kline, and Robert Redford. His great talent led him to earn an Oscar nomination for best supporting actor for the film. A place nowhere. He publicly propagated a healthy image: he did not drink, he was vegan and a defender of animal rights and the environment. However, it is said that there were two versions of him: the one he gave in public and the private one, which was more involved in excesses and drugs.
In 1993, while waiting to play at the famous The Viper Room, owned by the eccentric Johnny Depp, he took a strong combination of alcohol, cocaine and heroin that caused his death in front of his brothers Joaquin and Rain, his girlfriend Samantha Mathis and his friend Flea, the bassist for the Red Hot Chili Peppers. What happened in that place is a mystery full of rumors, but the fact is that the life of a young promise of cinema and music was turned off that night.
3. Edward Furlong
We remember him for his legendary role as John Connor in Terminator 2, a film that catapulted him to fame and allowed him to break into the world of industry, appearing alongside big stars like Liam Neeson, Meryl Streep and Edward Norton. But, as in many cases, with fame comes addictions and the young man was carried away by them. His excesses almost cost him his life, since he was admitted to the hospital on several occasions for overdose and alcohol poisoning.
He was arrested several times for disturbing public order and driving while intoxicated. Despite this, the actor has not stopped working and although his appearances on the screen are not as great as when he was a teenager, he is still in force in series such as CSI: New York and attending conventions to talk about his times alongside Arnold Schwarzenegger.
4. Corey Feldman
Corey grew up alongside some of the stars mentioned on this list. Participated in the movie Count on me, next to River Phoenix, and his best friend was Corey Haim, another star that we will be talking about later. From an early age, Feldman was exposed to alcohol and drugs. The actor has stated on multiple occasions that the people who introduced him to the world of addictions are the same people who abused him when he was a child, something that marked him for the rest of his life and that exacerbated the use of substances and thoughts suicidal.
Fortunately, Corey managed to get ahead and wrote a book telling his sad story. He entered therapy, was rehabilitated and today he is resuming his successful career little by little alongside his family and friends.
5. Corey Haim
The Coreys were inseparable, they had their own show and they knew everything about each other. Sadly, this included getting to know her abusers. Corey Haim was exposed to the same excesses as his best friend and now, knowing a little more about his life, we can understand why he got carried away by addictions.
Although his career never stopped producing successes, sadly Haim’s life turned off very quickly. The actor died at age 38 of pneumonia and his death plunged Corey Feldman into a severe depression. After rehabilitating himself and taking the courage to uncover the sewers of Hollywood, Feldman participated in a documentary, (My) Truth: The Rape of 2 Coreys, where he tells about these abuses and ensures that one of these people was none other than actor Charlie Sheen.
6. Shaun Weiss
Weiss began acting as a child alongside child comedian Pee-Wee Herman. However, the movie that would make it known would be The Mighty Ducks, which he did when he was 14 years old. From then on, his appearances would be in small roles in well-known series. Weiss kept working for about 20 years until, sadly, a streak of in and out of jail followed. In 2017 he was arrested for theft and possession of drugs, in 2018 for public intoxication and he was arrested once again in 2020 for attempted robbery.
Sometimes all we need is a little push from the back to get back on our way and that is precisely what his friend Drew Gallagher represented in his life. Drew created a campaign to raise funds and offer Shaun what he needs to recover physically and mentally, and he is doing it. In recent times, a drastic change has been seen in Weiss: he gained weight, fixed his teeth, began going to rehab and therapy in order to get his job back. The child exactor is thriving and it would be great to see him again in the series spin off from The Mighty Ducks.
7. Jake Lloyd
Jake began working with Arnold Schwarzenegger in the movie from a very young age. The promised gift, but his big break would come in the saga of Star Wars, playing a young Anakin Skywalker. However, after appearing in the Episode 1It seems that Lloyd retired from the stage and we never saw him again. It turns out that his life outside the cinema was very complicated. His friends at school made fun of him and it led him to give up acting and plunge into the dark side.
Drugs and alcohol became a part of his life and problems with the law were common. He was arrested for violence, for driving while intoxicated and fleeing the authorities. Lloyd spent time in prison and in 2016 he was admitted to a psychiatric facility, as he had been diagnosed with schizophrenia.
8. Brian Bonsall
Brian began working in the world of cinema with only five years next to Michael J. Fox in the film Family entanglements. Because of that role, he was able to make his way into the exclusive elite of the Disney boys, where he debuted with the film. Blank check. Despite the fact that everything was looking good for Brian’s career, the young man decided to leave acting in 1995.
From there it was learned that the young man began to have problems with the law as a result of his addictions. He was arrested for drunk driving, theft, gender-based violence and violation of probation. Many of us believed that quitting the industry would be to resume a normal life, but, ultimately, we did not expect this.
9. Jonathan Brandis
Brandis was one of the teen idols of the 1990s. His blonde hair and blue eyes made him the favorite boy for American movies, as he projected tenderness and sympathy. Jonathan appeared in the sequel to The endless story and shortly after gave life to Bill Denbrough in the miniseries That, an adaptation of the bestselling book by Stephen King. These protagonists were followed by a series of notable films and recurring appearances in series, but the entry into the new millennium would mark the decline in his life and career.
Jonathan began to manifest a strong depression that led him to consume drugs and alcohol in excess. Friends say the actor was frustrated because his career had stalled and his stakes were getting smaller and smaller. The actor took his own life on November 12, 2003, at the age of 27.
10. Dustin Diamond
Dustin’s career was marked by the role of Screech, his character in the legendary teen series Saved by the Bell. Even when he was working on this program, the actor went on to relate the abuse he suffered from his colleagues, events that left a strong depression in him, from which he tried to get out until his last days.
By the end Saved, Dustin had a hard time trying to find work. The accounts were getting bigger and bigger, so he had to dabble in adult cinema and appear in tabloid interviews windowing his former peers from the youth series. His private life became a show. In addition, he was sentenced to four months in prison for stabbing someone in 2014 and was arrested multiple times for driving while intoxicated and under the influence of drugs. He was diagnosed with terminal cancer and died on January 8, 2021, at age 44, due to complications from this disease.
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10 young actors who got lost in addiction